Can we learn about EDCs from animal studies?
Scientific experiments involving animals have long been surrounded by controversy, but they can be a sentinel to identify human risk. In a new study using non-invasive test methods, researchers have provided some clues about what might be happening when EDCs enter the body, and how we accumulate them.
Placental samples were analysed from women and dogs who lived in the same geographic region comparing levels of commonly used chemicals. Levels of pollutants in tissue extracted immediately after birth were screened. Chemicals including bisphenols (PCCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured in tissue samples using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis.
In total 45 pollutants were screened – 18 pollutants were detected in the placental tissue donated by 60 women to the study, and 5 pollutants were found in the placental tissue of 25 dogs, confirming that harmful chemicals can cross the placenta during pregnancy.
The study’s authors note that because dogs may have higher excretion rates than humans, this could partly explain their lower retention of chemicals, suggesting different bioaccumulation capacities between humans and animals living in the same region. In both instances, it suggests that EDCs can be stored as a body burden, even if for a short time.
The researchers emphasise that the longer-term effects of exposure to EDCs and possible adverse health outcomes will vary, and the concentrations detected cannot be directly correlated with other variables such as socio-demographic differences.